My mom drove in town from Florida and her arrival was, without a doubt, the bright spot in our week! The boys basically tackled her when she walked through the door and her presence here has allowed me to check some appointments off my list before our baby arrives without worrying about setting up childcare during the day which has been a big blessing. (Also, consider this your friendly reminder to set up an annual skin check!) I also attended a very socially-distanced open house at the boys’ preschool (you may read more about our preschool decision in this post if you’d like) and walked away feeling excited for Chase and Ryder and all the more at-ease with our decision. The boys won’t begin preschool for another two weeks and even then it will be a staggered start but knowing we’ll have a little sense of a routine popping up around here soon feels like a bit of a relief, especially knowing that bringing home a newborn is going to kick our daily chaos into high gear.
Annnd speaking of bringing home a newborn, it looks like that may be happening sooner rather than later. I had my 38-week appointment yesterday afternoon and ended up at the doctor’s office for more than two hours. My doctor is now strongly recommending a 39-week induction next week (!!!) after an ultrasound yesterday and I’m fully on board, as I just want to do what is best for the health of our baby. While we’ve discussed an induction before, the reasons behind this decision shifted yesterday. I am admittedly feeling rather anxious right now and have mixed emotions about everything. I hope to share more on Monday, as I am hoping to see a maternal and fetal medicine doctor today.
In the meantime, I’m sitting at my computer this morning grateful for a way to distract myself with a little blogging in the form of my weekly roundup of Things I’m Loving Friday favorites. Let’s get to it!
Things I’m Loving Friday
Branch Basics Cleaning Products
This Things I’m Loving Friday feature has been a long time coming… We’re talking at least a year in the making! I’ve officially been using Branch Basics products for more than a year in our house and absolutely LOVE them. I was on the lookout for non-toxic cleaning products that weren’t made with creepy ingredients. I wanted something sustainable and affordable and, preferably, refillable since I hated going through bottle after bottle of cleaning supplies. I also know myself enough to know I’m a little too lazy to whip up my own homemade cleaning solution time and time again and I’m picky about smell and didn’t love that a lot of the homemade solutions had vinegar in the base. I kept seeing Branch Basics products pop up on green cleaning product lists and figured they were worth a shot. Now that I’ve replaced my Branch Basics concentrate and oxygen boost a number of times, it’s safe to say I’ve found an option I love and trust for our family that works well.
Branch Basics makes cleaning simple and their concentrate can basically be used for everything from laundry and all-purpose cleaning spray to foaming hand soap, bathroom cleaner, floor cleaner, window and glass cleaner and more. (It’s even safe enough to dilute and use as a wash for fresh produce. Crazy, right!?) To use the concentrate, you simply pour the amount of concentrate noted on the bottle into the designated bottle and fill the rest with water. It could not be any easier and I love keeping the concentrate on hand so I basically never run out of cleaning products when I need them most. I use the oxygen boost for laundry and apparently it works well as a carpet cleaner (I want to try it in my beloved Bissell Little Green Machine) but I cannot speak to that just yet! More benefits of the concentrate: It’s plant and mineral based, free of harmful preservatives, not tested on animals, human-safe and fragrance-free. (If you like a little scent in your cleaning, adding essential oils is always an option!) It feels good to have a go-to line of cleaning products I trust to use around my family (especially little ones) and I figured it was worth a share here, too, in case any of you have been on the lookout for non-toxic cleaning solutions that work well. If you’d like to give it a try, my affiliate link will give you 10% off all Branch Basics starter kits! I started with the Starter Kit + Oxygen Boost and highly recommend it, as it contains the concentrate, all the spray bottles you’ll need and the oxygen boost I love for laundry!
Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding
Last weekend, Whitney shared a meal prep recipe for strawberry chia seed pudding on her Instagram and I quickly took a screen shot of it because I’ve been on a huge chia seed pudding kick. Her rendition sounded amazing and while I adjusted her recipe a tiny bit to fit my preferences, I kept the base of the recipe the same. I first filled a mason jar 3/4 full with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and then dumped it into my blender with approximately 3/4 cup fresh strawberries. Once I blended the two together, I poured the strawberry milk back into a mason jar along with 3 tablespoons chia seeds and 2 tablespoons old fashioned oats and shook everything up. After an hour or so in the fridge, I had the most delicious breakfast! I ended up making this pudding two more times this week and am excited to try different renditions with various kinds of fruit. I also think I could easily sneak in some freshly grated zucchini without tasting it for a little veggie boost. Clearly I’m more than a little excited about this one! YUM!
The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel
Just a friendly reminder that you may find a bunch of my book recommendations in one place in my Peanut Butter Fingers Amazon shop. I try to keep it continually updated so my book recommendations are easy to find in one place!
It’s been a hot second since I read a WWII historical fiction novel which is kind of surprising since books in this genre tend to be novels I gravitate toward reading over and over again. They also remind me of Ryan’s grandmother because she shared my love for historical fiction from this time period. I always miss Bubbee a little more when I finish reading a good WWII historical fiction novel because I know she would’ve read it the second I recommended it and we would’ve enjoyed talking about the twists and turns in this one together. For those of you who enjoy WWII historical fiction like me and Bubbee, add The Winemaker’s Wife to your “must read” list! This book came highly recommended to me by my friend Kaitlyn and blog reader Maureen and did not disappoint!
Set in Champagne, France in 1940, the book follows the lives of two women, Inès, a young woman recently married to the owner of a prominent champagne house, Maison Chauveau, and Céline, the half-Jewish wife of Chaveau’s head winemaker. When Inès married Michel, she never could’ve envisioned what would come: The German occupation and with it a life filled with fear, deceit, secrets and, ultimately, decisions that will impact the lives of those she loves forever.
Fast forward to 2019, Liv is a woman in the midst of recovering from a heart-breaking divorce when Grandma Edith shows up and insists she join her on a trip to Champagne. Their whirlwind travels take Liv to Maison Chauveau and reveal secrets about her grandmother’s past that begin to bring about more questions than answers.
This book was filled with twists and turns, heartbreak and hope and I highly recommend it!
After receiving a few requests on Instagram Stories to bring back sharing more of the boys’ meals, I’ve been trying to do a better job of remembering to snap a picture of their plates before lunch or dinner is inhaled! Inevitably, every time I share pictures of their meals, I receive DMs asking me about their plates. I swear by stainless steel divided plates for the boys and we use them every single day! They’re a great alternative to plastic, easy to clean (and dishwasher safe) and I like the way they have three sections that keep the boys’ food separate.
Our exact plates are still available on Amazon but seem to be low in stock. This two-pack looks very similar, though they may be a bit smaller which might not be a bad thing for those with toddlers. I like our size for Chase but it’s definitely on the larger size for Ryder so this two-pack seems a little more toddler appropriate.
Chicken Sausage and Spinach Frittata (A great way to pack your breakfast full of protein and veggies!)
Question of the Day
What is one thing you are loving this week?